Opendata, web and dolomites


The challenging quest for low-mass dark structures

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "LEDA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: Munich
postcode: 80539

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 1˙359˙688 €
 EC max contribution 1˙359˙688 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-02-01   to  2023-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Using strong gravitational lensing, I will constrain with my unique modelling technique and acquired knowledge the properties of dark matter and potentially revise the current standard paradigm for the formation of all structures which is at the core of modern cosmology and galaxy formation theories.

Numerical simulations of cosmic structure formation have shown that the amount of mass in low-mass objects depends strongly on the assumed nature of dark matter. My goal is to constrain the nature of dark matter by measuring the dark matter mass function down to ~10^6 M_sol, where the predictions from different currently viable dark matter models differ by large factors.

To this end, I will use the gravitational imaging technique, an advanced modelling tool that I have developed and pioneered, and state-of-the-art strong gravitational lensing data for 12 systems observed with cm- and mm-interferometers. At present, this is the only observational probe of low-mass structure in the dark matter distribution beyond the Local Universe.

This will represent an important milestone in our understanding of the dark Universe and will provide a key observational test of the Cold Dark Matter model in a regime that has not been probed before. This ERC project will challenge our standard model for small-scale structure formation and will distinguish between “warm” and “cold” hypothesis for the nature of dark matter. This ERC project will have significant implications for the fields of cosmology and galaxy formation.

I am in a unique position to achieve the scientific goal here proposed. I have extended experience in studying gravitational lenses and low mass dark structures. I have an unmatched gravitational lens modelling code and high quality data. With this ERC I will build upon my previous successes and create a top-class research group for studying dark matter with gravitational lensing.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 C Spingola, J P McKean, M W Auger, C D Fassnacht, L V E Koopmans, D J Lagattuta, S Vegetti
SHARP – V. Modelling gravitationally lensed radio arcs imaged with global VLBI observations
published pages: 4816-4829, ISSN: 0035-8711, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty1326
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 478/4 2019-10-03
2019 E Ritondale, S Vegetti, G Despali, M W Auger, L V E Koopmans, J P McKean
Low-mass halo perturbations in strong gravitational lenses at redshift z  ∼ 0.5 are consistent with CDM
published pages: 2179-2193, ISSN: 0035-8711, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz464
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 485/2 2019-10-03
2019 Giulia Despali, Martin Sparre, Simona Vegetti, Mark Vogelsberger, Jesús Zavala, Federico Marinacci
The interplay of self-interacting dark matter and baryons in shaping the halo evolution
published pages: 4563-4573, ISSN: 0035-8711, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz273
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 484/4 2019-10-03

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